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Climate Change: It's a Relationship Problem with Dr. Karen O'Brien

Karen O

October 2021

The Community Change Collaborative partnered with the Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Institute for Policy & Governance, Global Change Center, Fralin Life Sciences Institute, and The Vice President for Research & Innovation to host Dr. Karen O'Brien for a campus visit. Dr. O'Brien gave a public lecture on October 25 and participated in a Trustees Without Borders podcast interview with CCC members on October 26.

Dr. Karen O'Brien is a professor in the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. She is an internationally recognized expert on climate change and society, focusing on themes such as climate change impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation, including how climate change interacts with globalization processes and the implications for human security. She is interested in how transdisciplinary and integral approaches to global change research can contribute to a better understanding of how societies both create and respond to change, and particularly the role of beliefs, values and worldview in transformations to sustainability. She is passionate about what potential there is in quantum social theory and the implications for climate change responses. She currently leads a Norwegian Research Council Topforsk project called AdaptationCONNECTS (Adaptation: Combining Old and New kNowledge toEnable Conscious Transformation to Sustainability), that aims towards developing new understandings of whether and how transformations can contribute to successful adaptation to climate change.

Dr. O'Brien has been heavily involved in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Global Change Programmes and the transition to Future Earth, a 10-year global change research initiative. She is the co-founder and partner in cCHANGE, an Oslo-based company. cCHANGE is a beacon for individuals and organizations seeking a new perspective, inspiration, knowledge, and tools on climate change and sustainability transformations. Dr. O’Brien was named by Web of Science as one of the world’s most influential researchers of the past decade in 2019 and 2020. In 2019 she received a Research Excellence Award from the AAG Human Dimensions Specialty Group. In 2021 she was co-recipient of the BBVA Foundations Frontiers of Knowledge Award for Climate Change. 

 Links of Interest:

Oslo University Website for Dr. O'Brien, including publication list

InterGovernmental Panel on Climate Change & The Nobel Peace Prize


You Matter More Than You Think: Quantum Social Change for a Thriving World Environmental Change

Globalization: Double Exposures